Monday, June 4, 2018

Engaging in Healthy Habits Is a Key to Staying Sober

The following was an article by Michelle Peterson in honor of Alcohol Awareness (Thank you, Michelle!) Please take a moment to read, and share this with anyone you know that may benefit from it. Love and light-)

by: Michelle Peterson,

Overcoming an addiction is a struggle.  When you’re in recovery, you need every tool at your disposal.  One of the best things you can do for yourself is base your lifestyle on healthy habits.  

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Embracing healthy habits.  As a part of your recovery, you should incorporate healthy habits into your overall lifestyle.  One of the catchphrases about living a healthy life is self-care. Self-care is defined by the University of Utah as “a way of living that incorporates behaviors that help you refresh yourself, replenish your personal motivation and grow as a person.”  By engaging in a lifestyle that inherently promotes overall well-being, you can build a repertoire of healthy, positive coping mechanisms for when life sends difficulties your way.  This means developing healthy habits that you incorporate into your daily life, such as choosing healthy foods, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

Get fit.  Exercise offers you a vital key for improving your well-being.  According to some experts, including exercise in your recovery program allows your body to build healthy patterns, heal damage from substance abuse and rebalance your brain chemistry.  Through exercise, you can relieve stress, lower tension, and embrace a more positive outlook. Becoming fit improves self-image, increasing feelings of hope and confidence, and reaching your fitness goals can create feelings of empowerment.  

Start slow.  If you’re new to exercising, some professionals recommend beginning with simple, easy-to-reach goals.  For instance, don’t start out thinking you’ll run a marathon in a year.  Instead, simply aim for a short walk every day. As you feel better, increase your distance and speed gradually.  Structure a routine that will work into your lifestyle easily, like an evening hike with your dog or a morning walk with your neighbor.  

Good nutrition
Choose healthy foods.  Including good nutrition in your lifestyle is another important key to staying sober.  According to U.S. News & World Report, it’s so important that some recovery programs include nutrition screenings as part of the intake process in order to gauge how ingrained an addiction is.  And one of the helpful reminders newly sober people learn is the acronym “HALT,” which stands for the four major triggers that could lead to a relapse: hungry, angry, lonely or tired.  Those in recovery are encouraged to eat a healthy, balanced diet comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grain breads and cereals, and protein from fish, lean meats and poultry.

Steer clear of sugar.  Oftentimes addicts replace the craving for drugs or alcohol with a craving for sugar.  Sugar can mimic some of the effects the addict’s body and brain are used to receiving, and it also can leave you in a similar cycle of getting a high from the sugar and then crashing.  Caffeine can lead to a similar cycle, giving you a boost and then dropping you back down. Be alert to trading one issue for another.

Get enough sleep.  Sufficient sleep is another important key for maintaining sobriety and a healthy lifestyle.  Sleep allows your mind and body to rejuvenate from your day’s activities, and as some experts note, it’s a vital component in rebalancing and healing chemically.  Try to get your shut-eye at night so that you don’t become isolated and so you can regain healthy rhythms, and aim for the recommended eight hours of sleep per night.  If you struggle with developing good sleep habits, ensure you’re avoiding energy drinks and caffeine, and aim for a dark room free of external light sources, including your alarm clock and electronic devices.

Keys to sobriety
Staying sober isn’t simple, but with some healthy habits incorporated into your lifestyle you can heal your mind and body, and be better equipped to face the challenges that come your way.  Ensure you participate in a fitness program, eat nutritious foods and get sufficient sleep. These healthy habits can be keys in keeping you sober.


A Man Called Da-da said...

You also want to remove other addicts from your personal environment -- or remove yourself from said environment, if you can. Having someone do what you want to do right in front of you is often too much to bear. AND... if you relapse, don't be hard on yourself; just get back on that wagon and go as far as you can.

I also *strongly* recommend meditation. Here's a meditation primer from the CATs over at Schrodinger's Other Cat:

Raymond said...

It's amazing what a little sunshine, exercise and a balanced diet will do to help improve someone's health and attitude.